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Carnoustie Golf Links Buys Its Famous Hotel

The famous hotel that provides the iconic back-drop to the Carnoustie Championship Links has been bought by the Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee (CGLMC).

The price paid for the four-star Carnoustie Golf Hotel has not been revealed, but in 2019, Bespoke Hotels put the building on the market for in the region of £10 million.

The CGLMC maintains the course on behalf of Angus Council, which owns the Championship links.

The acquisition had been secured through an investment partner, reports local newspaper The Courier.

The purchase could mean an expansion and upgrade for the hotel, as CGLMC embarks on a long-term strategy to create a “world-leading destination” for golf.

Carnoustie Golf Links is an iconic, world-leading golf destination in Scotland and home to ‘Golf’s Greatest Test’. Golf has been played at the Links since the 16th century and it was Carnoustie natives who went on to establish the Professional Golfer’s Associations of America and Australia.

The Championship Course has hosted eight Open Championships, two Women’s Open’s and two Seniors Open’s making it one of the very few to have done so in the UK. It is one of the three courses used for the annual Dunhill Links, the others being Kingsbarns and the Old Course in St Andrews, and in 2018 The Open Championship returned to the course. The Championship Course was voted The Best Golf Course in the World in 2019 and Best Scottish Golf Course over £100 in 2018. Carnoustie Golf Links was also voted Scotland’s Best Golf Experience, Best Clubhouse and Best Catering (The Rookery Restaurant) in 2019, as well as Environmental Golf Course of The Year in 2018.

Michael Wells, chief executive said acquiring the hotel is a “key and natural part” of the committee’s future strategy.

He said: “Carnoustie is a unique golfing ecosystem. It attracts the world’s pre-eminent professional championships in men’s and women’s golf, national and international golf tourists and maintains local access for all in Angus.

“Hotel accommodation forms a key and natural part of our long-term plans to build a more sustainable business that benefits the local and regional economy.”

Wells also said he wants to strike a new 125-year lease deal with landlord Angus Council, which CGLMC says is critical to ensure the return of top events such as The Open. The current 55-year lease runs out in 2033.

CGLMC wants a 125-year deal and will form a new company to sublease the Championship course, as well as two other courses, the Burnside and the Buddon.

The council is reported to be looking at the possibility of its own management arrangement, or adapting the CGLMC plan. Authorities say that work has been delayed by factors including the coronavirus pandemic, and arranging support for Ukrainian refugees.

“I respect completely that golf is not as important as health, social care, education and real matters of life and death,” said Michael Wells. “Carnoustie Golf Links is not charged with supporting those critical areas but we are expected to protect and look after the asset on behalf of Angus Council.

“We thought this process would be concluded last year, but nothing has moved on. Adhering to the timeline now is critical.

“This is about securing the return of The Open long-term and creating a world-leading destination resort to potentially deliver over £1 billion of economic benefit to Scotland – £500 million of which will reside in Angus.”

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